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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Music's New Golden Age

While it might not seem it to many (especially those who've been in the business a long time), you can rightfully say that music is entering into a new golden age. Sure, most of the Top 40 charts and radio seem to be dominated by beat oriented dance songs, but real music played and written by real players is making a comeback. I personally can sense the trend by the buzz in the air and online, as well as some signs of life on the sales charts.

Want some proof? Let me list just a few artists that are a throwback to music's first golden age of the 60s/70s.

Adele: Here's an artist who's had great success by being herself. Her first album 21 doesn't have any beats or loops, it's not that polished, and there's not a lot of sweetening. It's just Adele and her talent. 21 has sold about 2.5 million copies and another million digital copies in the US alone, and is a big hit in most of the world. Her single "Rolling In The Deep" (there's a song analysis here) sold almost 5 million downloads. Someone is noticing.

Fitz and the Tantrums: You might not have heard about this group yet but you will soon. They're sort of a throwback to the Motown days. Their first album Pickin' Up The Pieces was done in the lead singer's living room and still sounds great, but it's more the bands vibe and material than anything else.

Mumford and Sons: How can what amounts to a folk band be this popular? It's because they're music comes from the right place. Totally compelling. See for yourself with my song analysis of "The Cave."

Bruno Mars: Talk about R&B, Bruno takes it to a new place. He's had great chart success (his single "Grenade" is one of the most popular song analysis on this blog), but he's the real deal. The guy can really play, sing and write.

Rafael Saadiq: Rafael may be the new face of soul, as he's another triple threat in that he plays, writes and sings. But it's his music that's so much the same as when soul was king, yet different.

Carney: I was turned onto this band by Bob Lefsetz, who so touted their song "Testify" that I had to check it out. Don't let the fact that lead singer Reeve Carney is playing Spiderman on Broadway, this band is the real deal.

So what do you notice about the above acts? They can all bring it live, and they're in all different genres, that's what. And that's exactly what gives me hope for music today. There are exciting new things happening that remind you of when music was great. Well, it's great again. Now the business is another story!
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Chris said...

A lot of this stuff is good, but it's all retro/revival. Who's out there creating good, new sounds?

Also, just to nitpick, Adele's first album was "19."

Brad said...

It may be a retro/revival to some, but to a lot of us it's a return to real music. There are plenty of people out there creating new sounds. It's the loops based stuff that Bobby was referring to. There is no lack to new sounds. Some of it is so new it would take an alien to decipher it in an enjoyable manner.

The music of the 60's and 70's can not be dated in IMHO. The music was created by real musicians/writers/singers and the result is what it is. Pure un-adulterated music with an emotional center. The result is real music being played on real instruments and it sounds like the bands from the 60's and 70's because that's the "place" they were also coming from.

It's not retro, it's always been in the "Now", it just got pushed aside by image makers until real musicians(and fans)have had enough of it and are breaking the cycle.

Its the result of artists concentrating on MUSIC, instead of image. Imagine that!

I've said it before and I'll say it again. MTV killed real music for a few decades, but now that MTV has died and turned into nothing more than a soap opera channel, music is making a comeback.

Music is meant to be heard not seen in a 3 minute mini movie. Songs are to be left to the imagination of the listener to interpret it anyway they choose. That's where the "Magic" in music has always been.

I don't know about you but I'm ready to get lost in an album with headphones on again like I did when I was younger. Play it cover to cover non stop and go on a musical journey with some songs with substance and emotion that leave me wanting more.

Music is headed in the right direction once again and I'm could not be happier.


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